May 172015

Sunday Things: Caramelized Onions

How to Caramelize Onions


2-4 yellow onions
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, (or white or red wine, or vegetable or chicken stock)


  1. Thinly slice onions from top to bottomSlice the onions. Start by cutting off the stem and root sections (top and bottom) and peel off the outer layers of onion skin.
  2. Slice onions in half top to bottom and then into thin slices.
  3. Place your skillet over medium heat, add the butter.
  4. When the butter is melted, add sliced onions and gently stir to coat the onions.
  5. Continue to cook, checking every 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Stir the onions and scrape up any fond that forms on the bottom of the skillet. Your cooking times will vary depending on how many ions ions you’re cooking and how sweet they are.
    Sliced onions in a skillet After 10 minutes the onions start to soften and become translucent After 20-30 minutes the onions start to soften and become gold- blonde Caramelized onions
  7. After 10 or 15 minutes the onions will begin to soften and turn translucent.
  8. After 20-25  minutes the onions will begin to caramelize and begin to turn yellow. What’s called “fond,” sort of a brown crust, will begin to form on the bottom of the pan.
  9. After 30 minutes onions are light yellow-gold in color and after 40 minutes the onions will be a deep golden color and you will smell the fragrant caramelization.
  10. Continue cooking until the onions are as caramelized as you like them. Be sure the fond that’s built up on the pan is not burning.
  11. Deglaze the pan by adding 1/4 cup liquid, we used balsamic vinegar.) As the liquid bubbles you can scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan an into the onions. Use more liquid if necessary to get all the fond.
  12. Add salt

If you’re not using the onions in another recipe immediately, let them cool then transfer to a container for storage. Caramelized onions will keep in the refrigerator for about a week and will be ready for your sandwiches and suppers. Or you can freeze them and they’ll keep for several months.

Learn more about Onions


Very excitable and prone to fits of glee, Christine cooks on a vintage 1950 General Electric double-oven stove, does not have a dishwasher unless you count the husband, and is guilty of posting cat cuteness on the interwebs. She photographs and blogs about food and other joyful topics from her home in Vermont.

Co-Author of Garden Candy Basics

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